Smartphones have taken many responsibilities now. It just does not only handle your calls, text messages or let you go through your social networking pages, it does more than that. One of them is, disaster alert. There are many smartphone app in the markets that warns you about upcoming disasters like Earthquakes or Floods, and now you get another one. You should add Microsoft’s ‘HelpBridge’ to your preparedness list.
This custom software is available on Android, Windows and iOS platform. You can hire software developers to make any additional functions in Microsoft platform. Microsoft HelpBridge allows the users to contact the emergency contacts in bulk, and informs them if you are ok or not. It’s a free app, but only for US region (for full functionality, you can download it free worldwide and use) and definitely not a replacement to the 911 emergency number.
The idea is to simplify the communication process in emergency times – you just don’t have time to sort out all the contacts and send them different messages. Via this app – the whole process becomes ‘one touch’.
You need to have a Microsoft account to use the app. Or you can also use your Facebook account with it. It will then scan your phone’s contact book and let you select your contacts as friends or family. You get the option to divide them into friends, family, and acquaintances.
There are two options to do with this app – in case you are in an emergency. If you have been affected by anything – any natural calamities, you may hit the ‘I need help’ button and then the app will allow you to send a message to the emergency contact groups via SMS, email and Facebook; and you can add your location coordinates if you want. The same goes with the other option ‘I’m ok’, by tapping that button you can let everyone know that you are fine.
The app is not confined to these two buttons only, it has more to offer. You can donate money via text, directly from the app or from PayPal if you have an account there. Or you can even donate goods or volunteer as well. Numbers of nearby opportunities are displayed on the top of the app, or you can manually search for nearby spots where you can donate.
This app, Microsoft HelpBridge is based on Azure and a variety of partner services including AidMatrix and the Mobile Giving Foundation and that’s why it’s a bit more expensive than Facebook Disaster Messaging Board launched in Japan. Unlike only location-specific service, it does a little more than that which you have read above.
There are also some apps of the same kind that can be used during emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a free app for all smartphone platforms (except BlackBerry). And for other emergency situations, you might want a Red Panic button which you will get for 2.99 US$ from the iOS app store or Google Play Store.